Washington, D.C. | July 2, 2019– Yesterday afternoon, President Trump signed the Taxpayer First Act into law, marking a major success for tax fraud whistleblower protections. This bipartisan includes important reforms to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblower program.
The Act creates vital anti-retaliation protections for tax fraud whistleblowers who file claims under the IRS whistleblower program. These protections include the right to reinstatement, no mandatory arbitration, and compensatory damages, as well as expeditious administrative remedies with the right to go to federal court for a jury trial.
Stephen M. Kohn, leading whistleblower law expert and Board Chairman of the National Whistleblower Center, noted,
Tax whistleblowers already benefit from the IRS’ commitment to protecting their identity – but today’s new law giving protections against retaliation should provide strong encouragement for individuals to come forward and inform the IRS about major tax cheats.
The Taxpayer First Act also enhances the existing IRS whistleblower program by improving communication with tax whistleblowers about the status of their submission. Tax whistleblowers have been frustrated that the IRS does not often provide meaningful updates or information about the status of their claims. It can be years before a case is resolved and the whistleblower receives an award.
Dean Zerbe, Alliantgroup’s National Managing Director and Senior Policy Analyst at the National Whistleblower Center, commented,
Today, Congress directs the IRS to increase transparency a little bit so that whistleblowers can know the key facts about their submission – such as whether the IRS has referred the matter for exam and whether the taxpayer has made a tax payment. The improved communication with the whistleblower will be a big help to the IRS whistleblower program – providing comfort to whistleblowers and encouraging new whistleblowers to come forward.
The National Whistleblower Center has long championed the whistleblower provisions in the Taxpayer First Act and is proud to celebrate the passage of this law.